Throughout the country, drug offenses are taken very seriously by state and federal law enforcement officials. In fact, marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug — the most serious of classifications — by federal law enforcement. As a result of this, a person who is struck with federal marijuana possession charges could spend time behind bars.
This hard-line has been taken as a result of the war on drugs, a decades’ long campaign waged by law enforcement agencies. A recent report released by world-renowned economists suggests that this policy should come to an end, largely because of the negative effects that it has produced not only in New York and the rest of the country, but across the globe as well.
A number of Nobel laureates worked on the report, which mentions mass incarceration domestically, national political destabilization in Africa and Asia, the HIV problem in Russia and global pain medication shortages. The war on drugs has contributed in some way to all of these issues.
The report goes further to say that treatment should be the focus of drug policy, rather than focusing on heavy, militarized enforcement. After all, many afflicted with addiction wind up in the prison system, rather than getting the rehabilitation that could address the root of the issue.
Of course, suggestions made by this report are very significant. If any changes are made in drug-related policy, they will not happen overnight. Keeping this in mind, a number of people are facing very serious criminal charges at this time, under existing laws. The hope is that these individuals can work toward the fairest outcome possible.
Source: The Huffington Post, “End The War On Drugs, Say Nobel Prize-Winning Economists,” Matt Ferner, May 6, 2014